A stunning vintage silver-gilt, enamelled, Emerald, red garnet and pearl-set singing bird box, by Karl Griesbaum,
mid 20th century,
The Golden Green Goddess has spoken...
When wound by inserting the deep spindled Griesbaum key into underside and the bird-form start/stop button slid to the right, the heavily mounted bird lid opens as the bird appears, moving polished metal beak, flapping both wings, bobbing tailfeather and turning whole body from side-to-side, perfectly synchronised to the continuous birdsong, ending when the bird disappears as the lid closes.
The bird with magnificent feathered plumage with the blending lighter hues of red, yellow, green and turquoise to head and breast, flowing into jet black for lower wings and body, rising up through the finely pierced and tooled gilt grille with bird-form centrum, lid interior with trademark leaf swag engraving surrounding central flower head boss.
In the stunning casket-form case with very strong gilt retention to the silver throughout.
The bird lid with raised scroll matrix applique with mounted green gem flanked by small set pearls, green enamel bed panel beneath, ribbon chased border, main lid with a repetition of the theme with twin scroll matrixes each with green stone mounts and further pearl mounts of varying sizes, on the panel with whole green enamel infill, highlights of raised tooled Rococo C scrolls positioned geometrically aid the complexity. Front and rear edge centres with petit solid appliqués of small flower heads, main lid edge with triple terraced tooled frame all chased. Tooled matrix appliqués all with mounts to all sides, with front and rear having red garnet mounts and the tooled Rococo scrolls joined with stars on the green enamel ground, plinth base with engraved foliate patterns on petit-point ground, set off superbly by the corner appliqués to the familiar theme with a more delicate undertone including rope-twists, quatrefoils and miniature flower heads, set with the Emeralds and Garnets, large, medium and small pearls. Central drawer to base opening for access to the key, hoop pull flanked by union scroll and two pearl mounts, drawer sides reveal finely chased leaf swags, underside of highly polished mahogany, flower head screw heads, all on four scroll toe feet.
5.3/4in. wide, 4.3/8in deep, 3.3/4in. high - (14.5 x 11 x 9.5cm)
Point of Interest -
Not one Karl Griesbaum Model 11 singing bird box we have ever been lucky enough to stumble across has been the same as another. Two Model 11's sold by us (stock numbers 1417 and 1439) show familiar case proportions, but very different in design, colour and form. Most likely embellished individually at the total discretion of the German workshops or perhaps the commissioning client, this model as with the others, focusses on the fruits born through exceptional executed quality and use of superior materials.
The silver content is the 800 standard for German pieces at the time and whilst the very rich hue of the gilding nourishes the eye admirably, the colour green does a splendid job of directing you through the many three-dimensional aspects of the design, from the flat enamel panels to the proud and transparent qualities of the mounted Emeralds. The red garnets, set towards the lower section of the case is a clever use of complimentary tones and the subtle creams and pinks issuing from the natural pearls unites with the gold seen almost everywhere.
Strong birdsong, imposing proportions, this singing bird box is undoubtedly one of the finest and most captivating surviving creations by Karl Griesbaum ever offered.